16 homeless – 3 houses destroyed by fire at McDoom

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Onika Welch points to what is left of her home at Lot 50 Middle Street, McDoom [Delano Williams photo]

By Clestine Juan

SIXTEEN persons are now homeless following an early-morning fire which destroyed three houses at 49-50 Middle Street, McDoom, East Bank Demerara. One of the victims, Onika Welch, lived with her four children and granddaughter at Lot 50 which consisted of an upper and lower apartment, while two houses were in Lot 49.

The aftermath of the fire.
The aftermath of the fire.

Welch said that she resided in the upper flat of the building, while the tenants in the lower flat were not at home when the fire started sometime after 01:30hrs on Friday.
The distraught woman said she was asleep when she was awakened by the immense heat and she immediately ran into the children’s room and hurried out of the house screaming “fire.”
Welch said she alerted other residents in the nearby houses which are situated very close to each other, as they were all asleep. She related that she had no time to save any of her valuables as the fire quickly razed the two houses next door. Welch is not sure what caused the fire and estimated her losses to be more than $1M.
Meanwhile, Welch criticised the response from the Guyana Fire Service, alleging that the fire tenders had no water after showing up some two hours after the fire commenced.
“They came without no water and that how the other houses were allowed to burn.”
She said neighbours assisted by throwing water on the burning building. In the meantime, Welch and her children are staying with neighbours and other family members. The other fire victims, which include the Smiths and Josiahs, were not at the scene at the time this newspaper visited.